A few readers were interested in updates on my experiment in digital minimalism, so…here goes! The ground rules I’ve followed have been:
- Email checked only 2-3 times a day, around meals, preferably not starting until after lunch.
- Social media limited to an hour after supper, excepting goodreads because it’s not a timesink
- No device use in bed or in active company
- Streaming ends an hour before bed time.
I made a few changes on my computer and phone to make the experiment more likely to succeed; I removed app shortcuts for Facebook and Reddit off my phone, and installed an extension on Firefox that allows me to control whether or not images load on a given pages. On facebook, I’ve also started unfollowing noise-y accounts.
The results have been….middling to good. While my digital fasting record has been patchy — I’ve taken a “quick look” at email/reddit/etc with my morning coffee more often that I’ve abstained — I’ve still experienced positive results. Beyond an uptick in personal productivity (reading or work around the house), I’m also quickly conscious and aware that the bulk of my time on facebook is wasted browsing, and the only times I’ve hung around have been when I was chatting with a friend. I can avoid that by remembering to use the Messenger app on my computer. Reddit can be more productive for me, mostly because the majority of subreddits I follow are informative rather than casual, r/askreddit being the most prominent exception. I’ve also been more mindful about my motive in sharing videos or articles on facebook. Several times I’ve seen or heard something that my first and immediate impulse was to share…but on thinking about it, I decided — nope! A quotation from Marcus Aurelius drifted up from memory, reminding me that whatsoever things are good are good in themselves; I don’t need to share and see little “likes” to savor a moment.
For the next phase, I think I will remove the facebook app I use (Lite) from my phone entirely, and log out of my account on my browser, so that I cannot easily take a quick peek.
Someone (Lydia, I believe) also asked for an update in regards to intermittent fasting; I’ve lost ten pounds, although I think it would have been more had I not been hobbling for two weeks following a strain to my Achilles’ tendon. My efforts to mix up my exercise have taken me to a local basketball court, where in the mornings I can wile away an hour in the same way I spent many evenings in middle school — shooting hoops and chasing after my many bounced-off errors. It’s less repetitive and more fun than just walking loops, whether at home or at the gym. I was honestly surprised by how quickly I adjusted to eating only two meals a day — it was if, all this time, I’ve eaten breakfast more because I was “supposed to” rather than because I needed it. Halloween has been a challenge, in part because of all the sweets which collect in the library’s break room. It will only get worse by Christmas, and we already have four bags of cookies in addition to the box of leftover Halloween treaties for the kids who stormed through today.